Over the last few years, Octane Entertainment’s Bailey Graham, has become a force within the Australian heavy music scene.
Bailey started his career in the music industry as a journalist starting his own blog before later going on to write and become General Manager of HEAVY Magazine and also writing for Metal Obsession. He then formed his company and first arm, Overdrive Touring which have toured acts such as Kalmah, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria) and Marty Friedman (Megadeth) to name a few.
Octane Entertainment now boasts a number of subsidiaries including management and bookings arm, Hard Drive Agency, Forge Metal Nightclub, Octane Records and, most recently, Overdrive PR.
In this value-packed in-depth interview, Bailey generously shares his knowledge on not only how he started his journey, but how you can approach a booking agency, get bigger shows and so much more!
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview, Bailey! Can you please introduce yourself
and what you do within the music industry?
Hi Monica! My name is Bailey Graham, I’m the founder of Octane Entertainment and
recently, a promoter with Destroy All Lines. My role at Octane these days is that of a
managerial/executive role looking after my company after years establishing smaller
subsidiary brands underneath it, whereas my role at Destroy All Lines as that of a tour
promoter and booking agent.
How did you get started as a music industry professional?
When I was 18, I started my own heavy metal blog (Heavy Metal Hound). Whilst I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and was just writing album reviews and live reviews for the fun of it. It eventually afforded me the opportunity to write for the esteemed Metal Obsession webzine, and eventually a dual-managerial position at Australia’s largest heavy music publication HEAVY Magazine, which I remained there for the majority of 2016.
After leaving HEAVY, I founded Octane Entertainment with my best friend Lewis Allan, started our first project (Overdrive Touring), and we never stopped since.
You’re someone who has hands in a lot of different pies. What made you decide to
start so many businesses and how do you juggle it all?
Everything I’ve ever started was founded out of necessity, and I found there was no
better way to obtain a service you required in your company, than to outsource as little
as possible. For instance, Overdrive PR (our newest brand) was born out of a necessity
for all of our label and management artists to have a free and in-house avenue for
publicity and promotion for their releases, which was great for all parties.
The label was born out of necessity for one of our management clients who couldn’t get a good deal in Australia, so we made a label with a good deal for them, and everyone benefitted! We’re not against going way beyond the extra mile for our staff and our artists to make their lives easier – even if it means creating a whole new business!
What do you find the most stressful/difficult part of your job(s)?
There aren’t many things that stress me about my jobs, but one thing that keeps me on
my toes is the attention to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I remember in 2019, I
was clocking in 80+ hours a week, which was the catalyst for me wanting to find some
What do you find the most fun/most rewarding?
It’s being able to give back to a community and an industry that’s already given so much
to me. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have started my career at such a young age, and
even more fortunate to be in this position now, so being able to appreciate what some of
our projects have resulted in has been the most rewarding aspect. The last thing a band should get themselves into is an agreement with a manager, publicist or a booking agent when they realise months down the road that they really didn’t need one.
The last thing a band should get themselves into is an agreement with a manager, publicist or a booking agent when they realise months down the road that they really didn’t need one.Bailey Graham – Octane Entertainment / Destroy All Lines
When working with bands in so many different capacities, is there anything you need to
be careful of in terms of not being a conflict of interest? For example, I’ve heard some
people say your management should not be affiliated with your label (although I know of
examples where this has worked well). Can you shed some light?
This is a very interesting one. I make sure to not monopolise my duties with my bands. In
an official capacity, I do not represent any of my artists, with the exception of my label
artists at Octane Records and my domestic bookings roster at Destroy All Lines (which is
separate from Octane Entertainment anyway).
For all other capacities (management, PR, etc.), the company employs representatives to look after these bands to look after their interests exclusively so that there is no conflict. That’s how I mitigate conflict of interest in the company, being responsible for so many facets of an artist’s development.
In your opinion, who is the first person (i.e. publicist, manager, agent) a band should be
looking at bringing onto their team and why?
A consultant, always! Someone with no fixed term or contractual obligation to the band
who is there to provide short-term advice from a highly-experienced point of view as to
where the next step and next contact should be. The last thing a band should get
themselves into is an agreement with a manager, publicist or a booking agent when they
realise months down the road that they really didn’t need one.
One of the biggest goals my clients generally have is to get bigger shows. Is it necessary
to have an agent to get bigger supports?
Not at all! Whilst it’s true that having a respectable booking agent does help your case
significantly when going for larger booking opportunities like big support slots and festival
slots, we’re not the miracle workers that every band seems to think we are, and it all
comes down to how strong the band’s pulling power is how fantastic their tunes are.
If you’re not ready to announce your next tour the moment your current one is done, you’re not maintaining your momentum.Bailey Graham – Octane Entertainment / Destroy All Lines
So, how can bands get bigger support slots?
Maintain your momentum, always! If you get picked up for a support run across the
country, you better make sure you’ve got a follow-up tour ready to go to capitalise on
those fans you just exposed yourselves to consolidate them into fans.
Once they’re fans, you’ve essentially grown your fanbase and your ability to pitch yourself to bigger support slots is how stronger. If you’re not ready to announce your next tour the moment your current one is done, you’re not maintaining your momentum.
What is the deal usually like, are supports generally expected to sell tickets, etc.?
It varies by the promoter. Some promoters offer guarantees to the supports (some even
cover things like accommodation and production costs!), whereas some promoters opt
for more of a DIY approach and get the supports to sell tickets in exchange for a
commission on tickets sold. I’ve personally deployed both methods for my tours
(depending on the scale of the tour), so it really just comes down to a case-by-case
When a band does book their first support, how can they ensure that they leave a good
impression and make the most out of the situation?
Other than putting on the best performance of their lives? Be consummate professionals.
Respect the day sheet, show up on time, don’t play past your set length, and thank the
headliner for the opportunity.
What is the worst thing a band can do when approaching people such as yourself for a
support slot or to work with you in any of your capacities?
Come in with a “What can you do for me” attitude. The relationship between any artist
and a promoter/agent/manager/publicist is symbiotic and if there’s not an immediate
feeling of mutual benefit in a relationship being formed between the two parties, I can
assure you the agent will walk.
You recently joined the Destroy all Lines team, how did that relationship come about?
This started in October 2019, when I met Ben Turnbull (owner of Staple Group/Destroy
All Lines) at Stay Gold whilst I was the current Head of Touring for Overdrive Touring
whilst I was tour managing Turilli/Lione Rhapsody. We had a brief discussion about the
current market in which I was promoting and we expressed a mutual interest in working
From there, I was introduced to Chris O’Brien – the former General Manager of
Soundwave Touring and now Head of Touring and Destroy All Lines, who was someone
I looked up to in the industry (being a 23 year old kid still getting his wet as seeing how
big Soundwave became!).
Chris, Ben and I eventually met up a few times over the course of a few months to discuss how I could contribute to DAL, and in January 2020, I was given the offer to join Destroy All Lines as a Tour Promoter, which is still to this day, my favourite moment in my career.
Did you/do you have free reign over who you bring onto your roster or was that a
For the most part, we have free reign over who we bring into our roster. I tend to
gravitate more towards the more euro-centric, heavier style of metal.
Generally, should bands approach the agency if they think they’re ready to work with
one, or should they wait to be approached? What does the process of bringing a new
band onto your roster look like?
At least from my perspective, bands are encouraged to approach us! I’ll personally never
sign a band if I haven’t seen them live.
DAL is such a household name – why do you think they’ve been so successful?
I’ve been going to DAL shows for as long as I’ve been a legal adult, and the one thing
that I’ve noticed they’ve stuck to is their formula. They know what works, they know what
makes a good tour and they know how to put together tours and festivals that aren’t just
there to turn a profit – but to deliver a quality experience for the punter.
Having been the new guy at DAL, I firmly believe that the approach at DAL has been a strong emphasis on the delivery of “The Highest Possible Value to the Customer at the Lowest Possible Price”. I’ve always believed that money is a natural consequence of good value, and DAL have proven that they have been delivering good value for over 10 years.
What’s one piece of advice you have for bands that want to get to the next level this
DON’T GET LAZY! Talk to that manager, reach out to that booking agent, arrange a
campaign with that PR company, speak with that label. If you’re serious about getting
your band to the next level, identify who and what you need to get there and get it!
Thank you so much for your time, Bailey! I appreciate it!
Thank you for the chance to have a chat, Monica!
Cover photo credit: Photo by Mick Goddard